Social media marketing isn’t as easy as people think it is. It’s more than just posting an update for your business every once in a while; if you want to get a steady stream of revenue and build a passionate audience about your brand, you have to go all-out, managing and cultivating a community while accurately measuring and analyzing your impact.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. Thanks to the increasing popularity of social media marketing, there are dozens of free tools available to help you keep your community under control and break new ground in your social strategies.
Here are 10 of our favorites:
You’ve likely heard of Hootsuite before, and you’ve heard of it for a reason. It’s one of the best and most comprehensive social media tools available on the web, and it has full integration with most social media platforms you’ll need, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Social post scheduling is the shining feature here and the one most commonly associated with the platform, but Hootsuite also features weekly analytics data and a handful of team delegation/task management features that make it useful for social media team members working together. There’s a free version and a paid version, though the paid version is still relatively inexpensive.
Social Mention is a search-based tool that works similarly to Google alerts. However, instead of providing alerts for news and information on certain keywords, Social Mention provides monitoring for more than 80 different social media platforms, including all the biggies—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and so on. If you so choose, you can opt in for daily or weekly email digests featuring all the mentions of your chosen keywords during that time period, and there’s even an API to integrate it into your site. It also helps you measure the impact of your brand with metrics related to the frequency, positivity, diversity, and consistency of mentions.
Followerwonk is a niche tool, so it may not be useful for everybody, but for companies actively involved on Twitter, it’s extremely beneficial. Through Followerwonk, you’ll be able to retrieve detailed analyses of your followers and Twitter activity. All you have to do is enter your username, and you’ll receive information on your followers as well as the people you follow. This information includes when your followers are most often online, how influential your followers are, and how active your followers are. It’s very useful in better understanding your audience.
Addict-o-matic is a fairly straightforward tool, which is great news if you’re just looking for something simple to add to your lineup of social listening and analytics platforms. Through Addict-o-matic, you can perform searches to discover new trending topics, or monitor the web for mentions and discussions around your brand. Using whatever keywords you choose, the search tool will scour the web on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and Flickr to find new mentions and instances that could be useful for you. It’s a near-perfect social listening tool that’s perfect for finding new things to talk about.
If you’re looking for a general idea of how impactful and how successful your brand is in the social world, HowSociable is a perfect tool for the job. Using a free account, you’ll be able to monitor your progress on 12 popular social platforms—you can unlock 24 others with a relatively inexpensive “pro” level account. HowSociable will use information like your total following, your engagement, your total number of shares, and other tidbits to calculate an influence score you can use to ballpark your reach and influence. You can also use the tool to compare yourself against your competitors.
IceRocket offers monitoring and analysis of a number of different platforms and languages, with interactive graphs that allow customization on the fly. It’s ideal if you want to keep a passive eye on developments in a given community, since they have more than 200 million different blogs at their disposal in their database. It’s perfect to find new trending topics and get a glimpse of your impact and reputation on the web.
Sprout Social is an all-in-one tool that allows active management of multiple social profiles on multiple different platforms. While LinkedIn is not currently supported, there is full integration with Facebook and Twitter. Through Sprout, users can schedule posts for the future and review them in a queue, assign and manage tasks to other team members on the platform, discover new content through social listening software, and view and manage regular reports on your progress. However, the free version of the program does not come with the same features as the paid version.
TweetReach is similar to Followerwonk, at least in the sense that it’s a platform exclusive to Twitter. TweetReach, however, is specifically intended to help you figure out how far your tweets are travelling, and what you can do to maximize the reach of your tweets. For any tweet you study, or for your profile as a whole, you’ll be able to estimate the total number of accounts you’ve reached, including how many impressions you’ve achieved and how many shares got you to that point. You’ll also be able to view charts and graphs that detail your progress and compare your present and past efforts.
If you aren’t using Google Analytics as part of your social strategy, it’s time to integrate it immediately. Head to the Acquisition tab to see a breakdown of your incoming traffic. This should give you a general idea of the success of your social campaign (at least in terms of site traffic compared to other sources). You’ll also be able to see a breakdown of which social profiles generate the most traffic within that span of users, and where those users are going. For example, you’ll be able to see which syndicated links tend to attract the most users, and you can adjust your posting strategy accordingly.
SumAll is especially useful if you’re managing multiple different accounts for your company, since it aggregates them into one interactive analytics platform. For example, SumAll features integration with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as non-social media accounts like Google Analytics and PayPal. SumAll is specifically intended to serve small business owners, so if you fit that description, you’ll probably find use with it. You can also customize reports, so on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, you’ll be able to get a snapshot of your progress on all fronts.
These tools aren’t necessary to be successful in a social media campaign, but they are extremely useful if you’re serious about getting results. Social listening software, scheduling features, and analytic insights are all important components of a long-term, uninterrupted engagement strategy.
Since all these tools are free, you don’t have anything to lose. Try a few of them out as a trial, and get a feel for what you want and need in a social media solution. Of course, if you want to get serious about social media marketing, but don’t have the money or resources, you can always consult with us—we’re experts!